excuse

verb
ex·​cuse | \ ik-ˈskyüz How to pronounce excuse (audio) , imperatively often ˈskyüz\
excused; excusing

Definition of excuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to make apology for
b : to try to remove blame from
2 : to forgive entirely or disregard as of trivial import : regard as excusable graciously excused his tardiness
3a : to grant exemption or release to was excused from jury duty
b : to allow to leave excused the class
4 : to serve as excuse for : justify nothing can excuse such neglect

excuse

noun
ex·​cuse | \ ik-ˈskyüs How to pronounce excuse (audio) \

Definition of excuse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of excusing
2a : something offered as justification or as grounds for being excused
b excuses plural : an expression of regret for failure to do something
c : a note of explanation of an absence

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Other Words from excuse

Verb

excusable \ ik-​ˈskyü-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce excusable (audio) \ adjective
excusableness noun
excusably \ ik-​ˈskyü-​zə-​blē How to pronounce excusably (audio) \ adverb
excuser noun

Choose the Right Synonym for excuse

Verb

excuse, condone, pardon, forgive mean to exact neither punishment nor redress. excuse may refer to specific acts especially in social or conventional situations or the person responsible for these. excuse an interruption excused them for interrupting Often the term implies extenuating circumstances. injustice excuses strong responses condone implies that one overlooks without censure behavior (such as dishonesty or violence) that involves a serious breach of a moral, ethical, or legal code, and the term may refer to the behavior or to the agent responsible for it. a society that condones alcohol but not narcotics pardon implies that one remits a penalty due for an admitted or established offense. pardon a criminal forgive implies that one gives up all claim to requital and to resentment or vengeful feelings. could not forgive their rudeness

Noun

apology, apologia, excuse, plea, pretext, alibi mean matter offered in explanation or defense. apology usually applies to an expression of regret for a mistake or wrong with implied admission of guilt or fault and with or without reference to mitigating or extenuating circumstances. said by way of apology that he would have met them if he could apologia implies not admission of guilt or regret but a desire to make clear the grounds for some course, belief, or position. his speech was an apologia for his foreign policy excuse implies an intent to avoid or remove blame or censure. used illness as an excuse for missing the meeting plea stresses argument or appeal for understanding or sympathy or mercy. her usual plea that she was nearsighted pretext suggests subterfuge and the offering of false reasons or motives in excuse or explanation. used any pretext to get out of work alibi implies a desire to shift blame or evade punishment and imputes mere plausibility to the explanation. his alibi failed to stand scrutiny

Examples of excuse in a Sentence

Verb

His boss excused the mistake but told him to be more careful next time. Please excuse me for not calling sooner. I was excused from jury duty. The teacher excused the class from homework that day. Nothing can excuse that kind of rudeness. Her father's illness excused her absence.

Noun

What's your excuse for being so late? She had no valid excuse for not finishing her homework. He's always making excuses for himself. I made my excuses and left. His birthday gives us a good excuse for a party.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

As such posts have become some of the most popular, moneymaking content being viewed and shared, social media executives simply cannot excuse their indifference. Alexander Heffner, WIRED, "Greed Is to Blame for the Radicalization of Social Media," 30 June 2019 And with no plants, fish or other visible life, swimmers can be excused for assuming that nothing stirs in the deep. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "The Not So Dead Sea: Traces of Ancient Bacteria Found in the Lake’s Sediments," 5 June 2019 The Gophers men’s basketball coach was excused to be at a recruiting dinner with prospective North Texas graduate transfer guard Ryan Woolridge. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Gophers men’s basketball outlook changes ‘a lot’ without Amir Coffey," 3 June 2019 Atmospheric scientists — and everyone else — could be excused for thinking of a stoically standing tree or a gently undulating wheat field as doing little more than passively accepting sunlight, wind and rain. Quanta Magazine, "Forests Emerge as a Major Overlooked Climate Factor," 9 Oct. 2018 At 117 schools, 10% or more of the kindergartners were not immunized because their doctors had excused them from vaccines. Melody Gutierrez, latimes.com, "California vaccination rate drops as doctors grant more exemptions. Is there a link?," 1 July 2019 Gelser was officially recorded as being excused from Sunday’s proceedings. oregonlive.com, "Bill to eliminate single-family zoning in Oregon neighborhoods fails in Senate, could get second chance," 30 June 2019 It may be delayed again after Mr Baez asked the court to excuse him from the case, making him the second member of Mr Weinstein’s defence team to walk away in quick succession. The Economist, "Harvey Weinstein’s trials," 22 June 2019 As a former executive at defense contractor Raytheon, Esper may have to excuse himself from decisions involving the company. Washington Post, "A perilous time to have temps running the Pentagon," 22 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And business leaders will find little excuse for failing to see and get ahead of a downturn that threatens their companies. Rob Bernshteyn, Fortune, "Business Needs a Better Way to Predict the Next Economic Downturn," 11 July 2019 Use it as an excuse to indulge in your favorite flavor. Dallas News, "What to buy in July — and what to skip," 4 July 2019 Doug and Tina are always using their kids as an excuse to bail on drinks with friends. Wes Marfield, The New Yorker, "Pixar Movies for Grownups," 21 June 2019 Ollie’s defenders have argued that UConn fired the coach due to the Huskies’ poor performance late in his tenure and had used the violations as an excuse to escape a bloated contract. Alex Putterman, courant.com, "Ray Allen on UConn-Kevin Ollie saga: ‘They just need to pay him his money’," 19 June 2019 So most humans, even those who know that meat-eating is bad, make excuses for their behavior rather than adhering to their beliefs and giving up meat. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "The Promise and Problem of Fake Meat," 7 June 2019 Indian cricket fans have found an excuse to beat the scorching heat this summer by travelling to cheer for their cricket team in the ongoing world cup. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "Cricket in Britain is this summer’s obsession among Indians and brands," 4 June 2019 There's no excuse not to get your Elizabeth Thatcher fix! Blair Donovan, Country Living, "How to Watch and Stream 'When Calls the Heart' Any Time You Want," 5 May 2019 But growing up in a different generation is hardly an excuse for policing women’s clothing choices and perpetuating the idea that men can’t help themselves. Emily Farra, Vogue, "It’s 2019—Why Are We Still Debating the Appropriateness of Leggings?," 29 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'excuse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of excuse

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for excuse

Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French escuser, excuser, from Latin excusare, from ex- + causa cause, explanation

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Statistics for excuse

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for excuse

The first known use of excuse was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for excuse

excuse

verb

English Language Learners Definition of excuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to forgive someone for making a mistake, doing something wrong, etc.,
: to say that (someone) is not required to do something
: to allow (someone, such as a child) to leave

excuse

noun

English Language Learners Definition of excuse (Entry 2 of 2)

: a reason that you give to explain a mistake, bad behavior, etc.
: reasons that you give to explain politely why you cannot do something, why you have to leave, etc.
: something (such as a condition or set of conditions) that explains improper behavior and makes it acceptable

excuse

verb
ex·​cuse | \ ik-ˈskyüz How to pronounce excuse (audio) \
excused; excusing

Kids Definition of excuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make apology for I excused myself for being late.
2 : to overlook or pardon as of little importance “You must excuse my gruff conduct,” the watchdog said …— Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
3 : to let off from doing something He was excused from chores for a week.
4 : to be an acceptable reason for Nothing excuses bad manners.

excuse

noun
ex·​cuse | \ ik-ˈskyüs How to pronounce excuse (audio) \

Kids Definition of excuse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a reason given for having done something wrong What's your excuse for being so late?
2 : something that is an acceptable reason for or justifies There is no excuse for bad behavior.
3 : a reason for doing something That's a good excuse for a party.

excuse

verb
ex·​cuse | \ ik-ˈskyüz How to pronounce excuse (audio) \
excused; excusing

Legal Definition of excuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to grant exemption or release to excused the prospective juror excused the witness after an hour of testimony
2 : justify

intransitive verb

: to serve as an excuse or justification exigent circumstances may excuse— J. J. White and R. S. Summers

excuse

noun
ex·​cuse | \ ik-ˈskyüs How to pronounce excuse (audio) \

Legal Definition of excuse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : excusal
2a : a circumstance that allows for release under the law from an obligation, duty, or contractual liability — compare act of god, force majeure, fortuitous event, impossibility of performance
b : a circumstance (as a physical threat) that grants immunity for otherwise tortious or criminal conduct — compare justification, privilege

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More from Merriam-Webster on excuse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with excuse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for excuse

Spanish Central: Translation of excuse

Nglish: Translation of excuse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of excuse for Arabic Speakers

Comments on excuse

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